When I became a parent I didn’t get a manual with the hospital release forms. I got diapers, a diaper bag and some Similac when I was leaving the hospital. To say I was terrified is putting it mildly. Fast track to now almost nine years, and I will tell you that I am still going through training and “finding myself” as a parent. I get when other parents say it’s THE hardest job, but it’s also the most fulfilling role you will ever have in life. So, how do you know if you are doing a good job? After all, there is no quarterly review on your performance. Here are my five top signs that I use to evaluate myself on a weekly, monthly, quarterly…well every time.
This is my number 1 sign of bad parenting — not taking care of your child’s basic needs, which ranges from your child’s appearance, preparing well balanced meals to simply spending quality time with your child. I have had experiences where one mother told me she has “no time” for play dates, birthday parties or playing with her child in general!
I know as working parents we have to juggle more than one activity at a time, but neglecting your child is not something you get a free pass on. Manage your time at work and make the time to care for and nurture your child. I know some of you may say, but my work is what keeps a roof over our heads and food on the table. Ok…I hear you but if you can make time for Instagram, Facebook and the club, then you make time for your kids.
Lack of Discipline
This is a very touchy area for me personally, as I was raised by strong Jamaican parents who believed in the saying: “Spare the rod and spoil the child!” My culture believes in major “spanking” as a way to discipline a child. I have been openly criticized by friends and family for not using force as a form of discipline with my son. Discipline for me does not require physical force. I believe there are more appropriate ways of teaching your child wrong and right behavior. Developing your child’s behavior through rules and limits is a major part of every child’s development. Children need to learn as early as possible that there are consequences for bad behavior.
This goes hand in hand with my previous point. If there are no limits then you are just plain spoiling your child. Children start to “push” the limits at an early age, even before they can walk or talk! I should know; I have a master manipulator in my house all at the tender age of nine. I know sometimes it would be easier to just give in and let them have their way, however that is not an option. Giving in just because they throw a tantrum, threaten or negotiate will not do them any good in the long run. So turn off those “guilty” feelings and stick to your guns. Following through with your rules is more important for their development.
For parents with more than one child, showing any form of favoritism is a major no-no. Bending the rules for one child, having different standards/levels of punishment for the same offence, giving more attention and time to one over the others….you get the jest? Showing favoritism gives the wrong emotional signal to your children and can affect their behavior in the future. In fact studies have shown that favoritism can also affect a child’s self-esteem or breed long embedded feelings of resentment towards parents. Be very aware of how you treat your children.
Ever see those scenes in the movies of a teenager yelling: “You don’t understand me!” or “You don’t get me!” Guess what? They’re probably right. Communicating with your children starts from an early age. Develop a relationship where you listen, instead of talking at them or preaching your rules. Personally, I don’t get some of my eight year old’s stories and jokes, but I listen and show interest. I can tell you all about his latest Skylander or Minecraft obsession! Listening to them will give you a good in-sight on how they think and will also put you in a good position to give them guidance and influence their decision making.
How do you evaluate yourself as a parent? What do you consider bad parenting?